Meet the 2020 Riotous Youth

Riotous Youth is a paid, post-secondary internship, designed for young people either beginning or considering a career in theatre. The program combines training and experience in teaching artistry, Shakespeare performance, and involvement in special events at our Festival. In 2020, the Riotous Youth program has evolved to continue within the unique constraints of the Festival cancellation.

Meet our 2020 Riotous Youth below!

2020 Riotous Youth

Valeria Ascolese

Valeria Ascolese

Valeria Ascolese is a multidisciplinary artist of Peruvian and Italian descent, born in Lima, Peru. Valeria communicates and performs in English, Spanish and Italian both in theatre, film and television around the Lower Mainland. Some of her previous theatre credits include Henry V (Pacific Theatre/Stone's Throw Productions), Theory (Rumble Theatre) and Sense and Sensibility (CapU Theatre). Valeria is a graduate of Capilano University. She is so grateful and excited for the opportunity to work with and learn from the Bard Education team!

Sunshine O’Donovan

Sunshine O’Donovan

Sunshine is an author, actor, and aspiring playwright. With previous experience as a Young Shakespearean and as a Riotous Youth, Sunshine believes that Shakespeare's villains are very human. She is curious to explore diverse ways to play with Shakespeare's words. In her free time, she enjoys building things, listening to podcasts, and riding her bike. She is excited about sharing her passion for Shakespeare, especially this year, because the Bard's words inspire, comfort, and challenge us when we need them most.

Joelle Wyminga

Joelle Wyminga

Joelle Wyminga is a multidisciplinary theatre artist who works mainly as a director, actor, costume designer and producer. She holds her BFA in Acting from the School of the Arts Media and Culture at Trinity Western University and is the Executive Director and founder of a brand-new grassroots theatre company, Far From the Tree Productions. Throughout her training, Joelle has developed a love for Shakespeare and is so excited to be a part of the Riotous Youth Internship program this year. In 2018/19 Joelle was living in London, England where she spent as much time as she could traveling and seeing as much theatre as possible. During this time she was able to visit the Globe theatre and see what a good Shakespeare ensemble can produce. She is so excited to join this ensemble and develop her skill and love for Shakespeare’s remarkable plays even more!

Sarah Mercier

Sarah Mercier

Sarah is ecstatic to have the opportunity to be a part of Riotous Youth 2020. She is currently enrolled in the Musical Theatre Diploma program at Capilano University. Recent credits include Arbutus Studio’s production of Spring Awakening (Frau Gabor) and CapU Theatre’s production of A Chorus Line (Lois). Aside from acting, she has previous training in music and dance, and enjoys these activities in her free time. Her passion is live theatre and is grateful to be able to share the true magic of it with others. She is hoping to grow her understanding and appreciation for Shakespeare even more through this community and experience!

Danny Saretksy

Danny Saretksy

Danny Saretsky is a Victoria-based actor and educator. He was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but spent most of his upbringing in the Middle East. Upon returning to Canada he attended the Canadian College of Performing Arts, graduating in February of 2020. You may have seen him in the school's production of Middletown, West Side Story, The Birds, Unity: 1918 or The Light in the Piazza, as well as in several shows for the Greater Victoria Shakespeare Festival including The Tempest, Pericles, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. Danny is proud to be a part of the Riotous Youth, and hopes that we can all learn in new exciting ways this summer!

Sara Gargaro

Sara Gargaro

Sara Gargaro is an extremely passionate young artist, who is thrilled to be following her passion at the Canadian College of Performing Arts. Throughout her high school career, Sara was lucky enough to be given musical roles such as the Dragon in Shrek the Musical, and Fantine in Les Miserables, and a diverse selection of roles in straight plays such as Puck in Shakespeare and Hollywood and Abigail Williams in The Crucible. During her time at the college, Sara has received dance and vocal training at an intensive level, and during the summer of 2020, Sara was honoured to be selected as one of the Riotous Youth with Bard on the Beach. Sara is so grateful for the opportunities that she has been given and looks forward to continuing to grow through the wonderful gifts of theatre.

Alissa Grams

Alissa Grams

Alissa Grams is a recent graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts, and is excited to be joining Riotous Youth at Bard on the Beach this summer. Ali has enjoyed exploring the works of Shakespeare since watching productions put on by Calgary's The Shakespeare Company from a young age. One of her favourite Shakespearean roles she has explored has been Moth of Love's Labour's Lost. Many thanks to her family, friends, and dogs for their support. Infinite love and gratitude.

Mikenzie Page

Mikenzie Page

Mikenzie Page is a theatre actor-creator living on the traditional unceded territories of the Coast Salish, the Musqueam, Squamish and the Tsleil-Waututh peoples. She is ecstatic to be working with Riotous Youth at Bard on the Beach this summer and the opportunity to create with incredible artists in a new and unprecedented way. In the fall Mikenzie will be entering her final year at Studio 58. Selected credits include The Wax in His Wings, Fourplay: Radium Girls (Studio 58) , Vibrant (IGNITE! Festival), Haunted House Hamlet, Alice’s Wonderland (Artists’ Collective Theatre), Legally Blonde: The Musical (The CAST Program), Sex, Lies, and Murder (Pyramid Productions/TV). She is so thankful for her beautiful family, friends, teachers, and frontline workers during these times. Thank you.

Kaila Kondo

Kaila Kondo

Kaila is thrilled to be part of the Riotous Youth team this year! With a strong passion for both acting and teaching, she is excited to develop and share her skills and knowledge through Riotous Youth. Her previous credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena), 7 Stories (Ensemble), The Tempest (Miranda), and Some Like It Hot (Rosella). Kaila will be entering her third year at Capilano University in the Acting for Stage and Screen program this fall, and is looking forward to a fulfilling career on the stage.

Reese Cowley

Reese Cowley

Reese is an actor, aspiring playwright and lover of Shakespeare. She was born and raised in New Westminster, B.C. and is entering her third year in the joint Theatre and Drama Studies Program at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College. Recent credits at U of T include The Hobbit (Goblin General/Ori/ Elf); The End of Everything (Mae); Under Pressure (Reflection/ Mother); Pyramid (Lawyer). Reese has also had the privilege of being in a production of Sleeping Beauty (Princess) at the Bernie Legge Theatre in Queen’s Park as well as participating in three musicals at her former high school, New Westminster Secondary: Footloose (Ensemble); Legally Blonde (Kate); Crazy For You (Ensemble/Dance Soloist). Reese has over fifteen years of training in ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary dance and has trained in classical voice. This past summer, she had the opportunity to participate in a Shakespeare intensive with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, CA. Reese was a Young Shakespearean herself in summer 2017 and is passionate about working with young people and making Shakespeare more accessible. She is incredibly excited to be a part of Riotous Youth 2020 and is honoured to have the privilege to work with such extraordinary and creative people during such an unprecedented, historical time!

Ryan Kniel

Ryan Kniel

Hailing from Surrey, British Columbia, Ryan is incredibly excited to be a part of the Riotous Youth team this year. Ryan is currently attending the University of Victoria, and majoring in his third year of Theatre Performance with the goal of a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Ryan has spent his time in theatre designing, operating tech, and assistant stage managing, but found his love for acting through the incredible shows produced by Bard on the Beach every year, and is floored by the chance to work with the fantastic people behind them.